About Ad Gefrin
(Saxon ~ 800AD)
Ad Gefrin was a large Anglo-Saxon settlement that archaeologists have interpreted as being one of the seats of royal power held by the kings of Bernicia in the 7th century CE. The place-name Gefrin means 'hill of the goats' a reference to Yeavering Bell and wild goats still wander in the Cheviots.
Around 1300 years ago timber halls stood here marking the site of the royal residence of early Anglo-Saxon kings. In AD731, and shortly after its abandonment , the scholar and saint, Bede, records that while king Edwin and his queen were residing here, the queen’s bishop, Paulinus, baptised many in the nearby river Glen.
In 1949 Professor J. K. St. Joseph discovered the site using the relatively new technique of aerial photography. Between 1953 and 1962 a detailed archaeological excavation to the site was undertaken by a young Cambridge scholar, Brian Hope-Taylor. Ad Gefrin revealed a complex of great halls or palaces, some over eighty five feet (26m) in length, of timber construction and built to a very high standard. There were also ancillary buildings such as kitchens, a weaving shed and a large enclosure. Enormous quantities of horse bones, including complete skeletons, were found outside the main entrance during the construction of the railway to the north.
Building work began in the 6th century, the foundations of the timber halls cutting through the remains of religious monuments and the cemetery of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people living here some 3000 years earlier.
The Ad Gefrin site is managed by the Gefrin Trust, initiated by archaeologist Roger Miket, who purchased the site in 2000. The magnificent goat head gateposts and other carvings you will see at the site are the work of local artist Eddie Robb.